NBA: Cavs target George to challenge Warriors dominance
UNTV News • June 27, 2017 • 13488
FILE PHOTO: Apr 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) celebrates after scoring against the Toronto Raptors during the second half in game six of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
Fresh off their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly trying to bring Paul George over from the Indiana Pacers to add firepower and defense to the Eastern Conference champs.
George, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, is a highly sought after target in the NBA this offseason and combining him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving could produce a viable challenger to the dominant Warriors next season.
ESPN reported Monday on a possible three-way deal that would see the Cavs send forward Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, the Nuggets send several young players to the Pacers, and George forming a new Big Three in Cleveland with James and Irving.
“This blockbuster trade from the Cavaliers standpoint is all determined by what the Golden State Warriors did in the NBA Finals,” ESPN pundit Chris Haynes said on Monday.
Earlier this month the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in five games to claim their second championship over Cleveland in three years.
“The roster as structured right now, (the Cavs) don’t feel like they have the talent and depth to contend with the Warriors,” he added.
The sticking point in the deal is that the Nuggets are not yet willing to part with either of their two best players – 20-year-old guard Jamal Murray and Serbian big man Nikola Jokić – but an agreement could still be reached, Haynes said.
A team that would suffer if George went to Cleveland is the Los Angeles Lakers, who were hoping to nab George to serve as a leader in their locker room, which is budding with young talent.
George, who can become a free agent after next season, had previously expressed interest in returning to LA, where he is originally from, but may not be quick to change teams again if the Cavs move takes place and proves successful.
“If the Cleveland Cavaliers win a title and dethrone the Warriors, Paul George really has to consider his initial basis of trying to get to LA,” Haynes said.
“This is going to be a nightmare for the Lakers and could change the entire look of free agency next season.”
Whether Cleveland is successful in bringing in George or not, the team will also pursue other big names around the Association this offseason including sharp-shooting forward Carmelo Anthony, who may be freed from his New York Knicks deal.
“If things work out in the Cavaliers favor, they will have the firepower necessary to feel like they can contend with the Golden State Warriors,” Haynes said. — By Rory Carroll
Paul George outgunned James Harden in a matchup of MVP candidates, and the Oklahoma City Thunder erased a 26-point deficit to escape with a 117-112 win over the host Houston Rockets on Saturday.
George finished with a game-high 45 points plus 11 rebounds, torching the Houston defense with six 3-pointers plus 15-for-18 free throws.
Westbrook matched an NBA record set by Wilt Chamberlain with his ninth consecutive triple-double: 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 11 assists. The Thunder posted a 53-39 edge on the glass.
Harden totaled 42 points, his 29th consecutive game with at least 30, but he missed a contested 3-pointer after Westbrook pushed the Thunder ahead.
Clippers 123, Celtics 112
Landry Shamet made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and scored 17 points off the bench in his debut for Los Angeles, which rallied from a 28-point deficit to knock off host Boston.
It’s the third time in the past five games the Clippers have come from at least 20 points down to win, with the 28-point rally setting a franchise record. It was also the largest comeback by any NBA team in the last two seasons.
Montrezl Harrell led Los Angeles with 21 points off the bench, and Danilo Gallinari had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Gordon Hayward scored 19 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, who lost leading scorer Kyrie Irving to a right knee sprain with about four minutes left in the first half.
Hornets 129, Hawks 120
Kemba Walker was 13-for-27 from the field and 9-for-17 on 3-pointers in reaching the 30-point mark for the fourth straight game, scoring 37 as Charlotte defeated host Atlanta.
It was the 40th time that Walker has topped 20 points and the 17th time he’s scored at least 30 this season. He added seven assists.
Charlotte’s Marvin Williams came back to haunt his former team with 27 points. Atlanta was led by John Collins with 21 points, and rookie Trae Young added 20 points and 11 assists.
Pacers 105, Cavaliers 90
Bojan Bogdanovic led a balanced offense with 23 points, the fifth time in his last six games he has topped 20 points, as host Indiana avenged a home loss in December to the Cavaliers.
Cory Joseph came off the bench to finish with 10 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists. Domantas Sabonis did not score in the first half, but finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, also off the bench
Reserve Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points to lead Cleveland, which has lost four straight and 10 of its last 12.
Grizzlies 99, Pelicans 90
Joakim Noah had 19 points and 14 rebounds as host Memphis, playing its first home game since making two trades at Thursday’s deadline, defeated New Orleans.
Justin Holiday added 15 points, rookie Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 14, newcomer CJ Miles had 13, Mike Conley 11 and Ivan Rabb 10. Miles and Delon Wright, who were part of the trade that sent Marc Gasol to Toronto, made their debuts, as did guard Avery Bradley, who was acquired in a separate deal with the Clippers.
Julius Randle led the Pelicans with 21 points, Jrue Holiday had 15, Anthony Davis had 14 points and 16 rebounds and rookie Kenrich Williams had 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Wizards 134, Bulls 125
Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis made a triumphant return to Chicago, helping Washington win its second straight game.
The meeting was the first since Washington acquired Parker and Portis from Chicago at the trade deadline for Otto Porter Jr. All three played significant roles when their two new clubs won the front end of back-to-backs on Friday, with the Wizards beating Cleveland at home, while the Bulls surprised Brooklyn on the road.
Parker had 20 points, and Portis had a game-high 12 rebounds in Saturday’s win, during which the Wizards built a 15-point lead in the first half and kept the Bulls at arm’s length the rest of the way. Porter, who made a pair of 3-pointers, finished with 17 points for Chicago.
Raptors 104, Knicks 99
Kyle Lowry scored a game-high 22 points and hit a 3-pointer with 7:03 remaining that gave Toronto the lead for good in fending off host New York.
Serge Ibaka registered a double-double (15 points and 13 rebounds) for the Raptors, who have won four consecutive games. Marc Gasol, playing his first game for the Raptors since he was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, scored seven points and pulled down six rebounds in 19 minutes as a reserve.
Kevin Knox scored 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan posted a double-double with 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Knicks, who tied a franchise record by losing their 16th straight game.
Jazz 125, Spurs 105
Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and Rudy Gobert added 21 points and 13 rebounds to lead host Utah to its second straight win while sending San Antonio to its fourth straight loss in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Royce O’Neale matched his season-high with 17 points off the bench as the Jazz had six players score in double figures.
DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 15 to lead the Spurs.
Magic 103, Bucks 83
Orlando took advantage of the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, snapping host Milwaukee’s six-game winning streak.
Jonathan Isaac led the Magic in scoring for the first time this season with 17 points. Eric Bledoe led Milwaukee with 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, and Malcolm Brogdon added 14 points. It was Milwaukee’s most lopsided loss and the fewest points they’ve scored all season.
Orlando has won four of its last five and is now 2 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Kyrie Irving racked up 30 points and 11 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 134-129 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at home on Sunday.
The win was the fourth consecutive and the ninth in the last 10 for the Celtics. The Thunder’s seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Paul George led the Thunder with 37 points but was just 5 of 16 from behind the 3-point line.
Irving hit a critical floater with 23 seconds remaining with the Celtics clinging to a two-point lead. He drove past Terrance Ferguson, and let go of the floater over the outstretched arms of Thunder 7-footer Steven Adams. Russell Westbrook, coming over to help, got his finger on the shot, but it fell through the basket to extend Boston’s lead.
Westbrook had a monster game once again — 22 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds — but his critical turnover with 8.1 seconds left and Oklahoma City down by two helped Boston escape with the win.
The Thunder got a 3-pointer from Jerami Grant right after Irving’s floater, then got the ball back after Jayson Tatum missed the second of two free throws to keep Oklahoma City’s hopes alive.
But Westbrook lost the ball charging toward the basket, and Tatum made both free throws at the other end.
Westbrook had his sixth consecutive triple-double and his 19th this season. Westbrook now has three streaks of six or more consecutive triple-doubles in his career.
Marcus Smart hit big shot after big shot to lift the Celtics to the lead for the final time.
With just less than seven minutes remaining in the third, Oklahoma City took the lead before Boston roared back. Smart hit a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to ignite a 14-0 run that lasted more than three minutes. It was one of three 3-pointers Smart hit during the stretch.
Irving was 14 of 19 from the field in the win. Eight players scored in double figures for Boston
Boston was without center Aron Baynes, who missed the game with a left foot contusion. Baynes, who missed 13 games earlier this season with a broken hand, will miss “a few weeks,” he told reporters before the game.
FILE PHOTO: Feb 10, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) points to the sky against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. (Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports)
James Harden capped his second consecutive triple-double by sinking a 25-foot 3-pointer with one second remaining in overtime Thursday night, giving the Houston Rockets a 135-134 victory over the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif.
After Stephen Curry put Golden State up by two with an 18-footer with 23.1 seconds to go, the Rockets got possession after a kicked-ball violation on the Warriors with 5.5 seconds left.
The ball was inbounded to Harden, who was able to get off — and make — a heavily contested 3-pointer to provide the game-winning points and cap a game-high, 44-point night.
Kevin Durant’s desperation 40-footer caromed off the rim at the buzzer, allowing the Rockets to win their sixth straight and 11th in their past 12.
In scoring 40 or more points for the fifth consecutive game, Harden also found time for 10 rebounds and a game-high 15 assists for his fifth triple-double of the season. He turned the ball over seven times.
Curry led the Warriors with 35 points.
The Rockets forced the extra session by scoring the last six points of the fourth quarter on a three-point play by Clint Capela with 1:03 to go and a 3-pointer by Harden with 51.4 seconds left.
After Durant misfired for Golden State, Harden had the last shot of regulation but couldn’t connect from 32 feet, sending the game into overtime tied at 119-all.
Thirty of Harden’s points came on 10 3-pointers as the Rockets went 21-for-54 from beyond the arc and outscored Golden State 63-42 on threes.
Capela recorded a 29-point, 21-point double-double for Houston, which beat Golden State for the second time this season after falling to the eventual champion Warriors in seven games in last year’s Western Conference finals.
Austin Rivers added 18 points, Danuel House Jr. 17 and Gerald Green 16 as the Rockets rallied from as much as a 20-point, third-quarter deficit.
Curry managed his 35 points despite just 5-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. The Warriors were 14-for-37 from long distance as a team.
Durant and Klay Thompson finished with 26 points apiece for the Warriors, while Draymond Green flirted with a triple-double of his own with nine points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.
The loss was Golden State’s third straight at home.
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